Under capitalism, ownership of the means of production is effectively restricted to a tiny segment of the population—the capitalist class. The vast majority of the population—the working class—have no means by which to make a living save by selling their labour-power to a capitalist (or the state). Labour-power is bought and sold on a labour market; it is in fact a commodity. On the job, workers are told what to produce and are driven to produce as much as possible. Unless pressured by a strike, the capitalists will do little or nothing to improve working conditions, not even those relating to workers’ health and safety. Even if some capitalists were to take a more charitable attitude, none of this would change because of the competitive pressure of the market. If a corporate board or a particular capitalist enterprise was to become benevolent and voluntarily increase workers’ wages and improve working conditions, this would necessarily entail reductions in profits. The company in question would be unable to compete successfully. It would lose its share of the market for its product, as other companies could and would sell for less. The price of such benevolence would be eventual bankruptcy. Under capitalism, nice guys do finish last. The fact is that private possession of the means of production inevitably results in exploitation.
Capitalists only employ workers when they can be reasonably assured that the value of the workers’ product at every stage of production will exceed the value of the workers’ wages, creating what Marxists call “surplus value.” In other words, all capitalist production is premised upon exploitation, upon paying workers far less in wages than the value of what they produce. Consequently, to argue that exploitation is “contrary” to capitalist ownership is ludicrous.
The Socialist Party advocate a cooperative commonwealth of labour, free of exploitation and oppression. Socialism is no pipe dream. It does not seek to end exploitation and oppression by appealing to the oppressor class to be more benevolent, but by organising to overthrow that class. It does not base its vision on idealistic premises but on concrete facts. It boldly proclaims that capitalist/state ownership of the industries and exploitation of the working class is the root of workers’ misery; that the means to provide material abundance for all, at a fraction of the work time presently required, objectively exists but cannot be realised due to this capitalist/state ownership. For the workers of the world, the choice is clear: The Socialist Party offers the potential to end human suffering.
The Socialist Party reasserts that the global class struggle is a fact, that the working and ruling classes of the world have nothing in common, and that every attempt to prevent the working classes of the world from uniting in their own interests requires the unqualified condemnation of all those who profess to speak in the interests of labour, regardless of their assertions and pretences to the contrary. For that reason, the Socialist Party reaffirms its commitment to the principle that unrestricted emigration and mobility of workers from one country to another is a human right, and that every attempt to limit, control or manipulate the working classes of the world in the free exercise of that right is meant to serve the interests of the ruling classes of the world and also requires the unqualified condemnation of all those who profess to speak in the interests of labour.
Capitalism with its private ownership of the economy and exploitation of wage labour is responsible for economic hardship and insecurity for all workers; that it compels workers for economic reasons to leave their home countries and seek employment elsewhere; that immigration laws, whether promoted by so-called liberals or conservatives, only serve to benefit the capitalist class. The Socialist Party extends a fraternal hand of welcome to all immigrant workers and invites them to join in our efforts to abolish capitalism and establish the free and democratic socialist society of free and emancipated working people throughout the world.
In answer to the many inquiries we receive about the differences between the Socialist Party and other political organisations describing themselves as socialist, we offer the following:
These organisations have two common denominators, both of which differentiate them from ourselves in the Socialist Party.
The first denominator is their common acceptance of the validity and desirability of reforms. Thus, although all of them maintain that some kind of “socialism” is their objective, the realization of socialism is not considered possible for an indefinite period in the future. For the present, they say, the thing to do is to work for social reform, i.e., measures that will allegedly alleviate the suffering of the workers. Some attempt to disguise their reform platform as “partial steps” or “transitional measures.” They’re still reforms. The Socialist Party makes clear that it is the duty of a bona fide party of socialism always to hold the issue of the abolition of wage slavery up before the workers as our priority, and to expose reforms as delusions where they have not concealed measures of reaction.
The second common denominator of the parties claiming to be “socialist” is that their concept of socialism is one in which industry is nationalised and directed by the State. We in the Socialist Party agree with Marx when he said that “the existence of the state is inseparable from the existence of slavery.” Whenever the state assumes ownership or control of a business, all that really happens is that the workers, who remain wage slaves, exchange one master, the private capitalists, for another, the government bureaucrat. This definitely is not socialism. In contrast to the “radical” reformist parties, the Socialist Party calls for the abolition of the political state. Only when the means of production are owned socially and administered democratically by the workers will we have genuine socialism.
For the reasons stated, the Socialist Party has nothing in common with the Left. However, the best way to compare the differences is to study carefully the history, the literature, the policies and the objectives of those with the socialist label.